The Grandpa from Brazil, 2008

The Grandpa from Brazil ブラジルから来たおじいちゃん

An Evening with Filmmaker Nanako Kurihara
Friday, April 9, 2010 - 7:00pm

The Grandpa from Brazil focuses on the journey of Ken’ichi Konno, a 92-year-old Japanese man who migrated to Brazil in 1931. In telling Ken’ichi's story, the film also traces the history of Japanese immigration to Brazil and the current "reverse immigration" from Brazil to Japan.

Ken’ichi traveled alone to Brazil when he was 19 to escape the financial crises of his homeland. During the Great Depression, the Japanese government promoted a policy of dispatching citizens overseas to reduce the pressures of overpopulation. Promised an easier life in Brazil, young Ken’ichi saw emigration as his only choice.

Though he has found peace at the end of his long life, he does not forget that others are still fighting his old battles. In particular, he concerns himself with Brazilians of Japanese descent who have recently made the journey from Brazil to Japan in search of a more prosperous society. Nearly 320,000 Japanese-Brazilians have filled job vacancies caused by labor shortages in Japan, far exceeding the 250,000 Japanese who emigrated to Brazil over the last century. This timely, passionate tale follows a seemingly ordinary man on his extraordinary journey.

Nanako Kurihara is an award-winning Japanese producer/director. Her first film, Ripples of Change (1993), about the Japanese women’s movement in the 1970s, was shown internationally and was broadcast in the United States and Australia. Kurihara holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University.

(Nanako Kurihara, Japan/Brazil, 2008, DVD, 60 min

Co-sponsored by The Japan Studies Committee of the Center for East Asian Studies and the Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop